Chicago Blackhawks: What's Their Strategy for Sunday's 2013 NHL Draft?
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The Chicago Blackhawks kick off the next step of their summer housekeeping on Sunday afternoon at the 2013 NHL draft. Coming just days after the 'Hawks won the Stanley Cup in Boston, General Manager Stan Bowman has to shift the franchise's attention from Grant Park to the Prudential Center in New Jersey.
Bowman has five picks to use Sunday, starting with the 30th selection. By the time the 'Hawks step up to make their first pick, however, don't be surprised if Chicago has obtained a few more selections.
Will the Blackhawks make a play to move to the top of the board to get a potential high-impact pick? I kind of doubt it. This is a deep draft by all accounts, and Chicago can secure a quality player even with the final pick of the round.
Besides, swinging the home run deal just doesn't seem to be Bowman's style. I do think he will try and get some additional selections, though.
After the first round, Chicago doesn't come up again until the last pick of Round 4. Getting back the second and third-round selections traded for Johnny Oduya in 2012 should be a priority. That's because Bowman has been able to build the team in the lower rounds.
Brandon Saad came out of the second round in 2011. Andrew Shaw was a fifth-round pick that summer. Going back before Bowman was GM, Dave Bolland (2004), Bryan Bickell (2004) and Corey Crawford (2003) were all second-round picks.
Bolland could be the player Bowman uses to bolster his stable of selections. Trading the Rat is a real possibility, even as soon as this weekend. Bowman may also look at his prospect offers and decide to convert a few into some extra picks this summer.
I am a fan of center Brandon Pirri, but the time might be at hand to swap him. That hinges on whether the 'Hawks believe he is the answer to the middle of the second line.
Pirri led the AHL in scoring last season. If he isn't going to get a serious look at the roster this fall, he could fetch the picks Bowman desires.
Less likely is the scenario that sees the Blackhawks trade Bickell's rights, much like they did Troy Brouwer's in 2011. Brouwer brought a first-round pick that Bowman used to select Phillip Danault.
With such little negotiation time before having to make such a decision, I think it is a bit far-fetched to think Bowman uses Bickell to get his picks. Bickell seems pretty open to staying in Chicago, and there is a decent chance a deal can be struck.
When Brouwer was dealt, Bowman had Bickell as a player who could play a similar style. A quick look through the organization shows that such a replacement is not ready to replace Bickell.
Bowman could stand pat and be content with the five picks he holds going into the draft. This is a GM that has valued prospects and developing talent, however. I suspect at least one deal gets done to provide Bowman with at least another couple of picks to use Sunday.
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